Epiletiform EEG Abnormalities.
This is too complex an issue to go into in detail here, however, a systematic trawl of the US National Institutes of Health digital archives should turn up the relevant research papers. Suffice to say that it was Krafft-Ebing who in his seminal work Psychopathia Sexualis (1886) first associated fetishism with epilepsy, but it was not until the 1960s that some research identified epileptiform EEG abnormalities in fetishists.
In one such case, reported in 1963, it was claimed that a patient with long-standing “transvestic fetishism” developed temporal-lobe epilepsy, which was “cured”, along with his fetishism, by performing a lobectomy, i.e. surgical removal of part of the prefrontal area of the brain. Another study, in 1967, simply referred to the subjects exhibiting “sexual deviation”, without acknowledging that in the professional literature of the day that simply referred to a heterogeneous and culturally defined phenomenon of which fetishism was only one particular type, and the diagnostic criteria were not rigourously specified. The so-called “deviant” group included not only fetishists but also voyeurs, exhibitionists, sadists, masochists, paedophiles, and homosexuals.
Subsequently, in the 1980s, further research elucidated the inhibitory effects of serotonin on such epileptiform activity. Finally, in the early 1990s, there was a research finding that drugs that enhance serotonergic transmission often decrease fetishistic behaviour. However, no useful conclusions appear to have been reached, for the last paper I read, dated 1994, reached no conclusions except for this vacuous statement:-
“Is fetishism best viewed as a psychic or a biological phenomenon? Is it or can it be secondary to an anxiety disorder? Is it a disorder of imprinting? Is it an obsessive-compulsive trait, a disorder of impulse control, or an outlet created by a nonspecific hypersexuality? Is it related to temporal-lobe epilepsy and subictal or interictal epileptiform activity? What does it have to do with the serotonergic system? Research designs and analytic strategies that aim to explore the behavioural, pharmacological, and electroencephalographic nature of fetishism must consider these questions.”
Subsequently, there appears to have been no worthwhile research in this field that would have much, if anything, relevant or applicable to a normal cross-dresser. Perhaps this this is due to the fact that many sexologists, such as Roger Peo, former Editor of the HBGDIA Newsletter until his death in 1994, still maintain that:-
“...there are no observable physical or hormonal irregularities that could account for cross-dressing.” (emboldening added)
Other physiological theories offered for cross-dressing include the so-called “Hormonal Bath” explanation, and various forms of “Chemical Abuse”, for want of a better name..